When does a new place you’ve moved into begin to feel like home? Sometimes it takes a couple of months of organizing and moving your furniture around, or seeking out that stellar statement piece for your kitchen or living room.
But other times, you can make your house feel completely homey within the first few days of moving in. All it takes is following a few handy tricks and tips, like giving an old room a face-lift with a fresh coat of paint or deep cleaning before unpacking.
We’ve compiled a list of essential tips to help you personalize your space with minimal hassle.
For more moving tips, here are the best moving companies of 2023.
Clean, clean, clean!
If you’re lucky enough to move into a pristine apartment, congratulations. Most people can’t relate. Your new crib is presumably a little dusty, a tad dirty.
Before you unpack your boxes and assemble that Ikea furniture, take a little time to clean your empty space. Hit the floors with a Swiffer, dust off those windows, wash down your kitchen counters until you can see your own reflection, give your bathroom some TLC, and wrap it all up with a good old round of vacuuming.
You’re beginning a new life in a new place. Why begin it with your former tenant’s leftover grime?
Give your walls a new layer of paint, or some wallpaper
When my roommates and I moved into our New York apartment, we were surrounded by glossy butter-yellow walls. It was whimsical to us — for no more than two days. We soon realized there’s only so much butter your eyes can devour.
So my roomies picked out a couple of favorite colors and changed the formerly yellow living room, hallway, bathroom and bedrooms to forest greens, subtle whites and light grays. It was a simple fix that breathed new life into our home and made it feel like this was our space, not just another New York rental.
With your landlord’s approval, of course, switch up the vibe of your new place with colors that reflect who you are and what you want your apartment to be. Don’t succumb to the wall colors given to you — seek out funky wall papers and compelling tones to make this space yours.
Note: If your landlord agrees to let you paint, it’ll probably be on the condition that you paint the walls back to their original color when you leave.
Add scents that remind you of home
Create a space that feels like home with scents that take you back to your old one. Maybe that means adding a sugar-cookie-scented Yankee Candle to your shopping cart for old times’ sake or plugging your Glade clean linen air freshener into that living room outlet. This tip also works if you’re trying to get a pesky stench out of your apartment.
Rugs, curtains, mirrors and throws, oh my!
A few staple home decor pieces can liven up your space with minimal effort. Put some curtains on your windows to give a lifeless living room or bedroom some character.
If you’re moving into a small apartment, hang a few mirrors in sunny spots to visually open up the space and let light reflect through it. You can also opt for a more personal space by sprucing up your area with colorful patterned rugs and throw pillows.
Light it up
To give your rooms a generous warm glow, consider adding multiple layers of light. Don’t solely rely on that overhead light or desk lamp.
The general rule, according to interior designers, is to have three to four sources of light per room. Some of these sources can be purely functional, and others can add some personality, character and funk to the space.
For smaller spaces, consider smaller light sources, like desk lights and floor lamps, while larger spaces, like a living room or kitchen, could require overhead lighting fixtures instead. And don’t forget dimmers — control the ambience of your room by dimming your lights based on the time of day and vibe of your space.
Hang it up
Decorate your walls with your favorite artworks and photos. Get creative and print out your favorite family pictures or pieces of art and hang them on empty walls. Wall art will instantly customize your space and fill it with signature personal touches.
Liven it up with plants and cacti
Not only do plants and cacti add some life and green to your apartment, they also purify your air and can boost your mood. Choose plants that suit your plant caretaking style: Opt for an unfussy pothos if you kill any plant you buy, and go for a funky cactus or string of pearls if you’re an intermediate to professional plant parent well attentive to your flora.
For more home tips, here’s how to lift heavy boxes and furniture and not hurt your back, and here’s what you should know before you move.